Tag Archives: Tomas Tatar

Tatar shines with new linemate Richards netting three goals in 4-1 win over Chicago

Detroit Red Wings' Tomas Tatar (21), of Slovakia, is pursued by Chicago Blackhawks’ Bryan Bickell (29) during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Detroit. Tatar scored three goals in the Red Wings 4-1 win. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Detroit Red Wings’ Tomas Tatar (21), of Slovakia, is pursued by Chicago Blackhawks’ Bryan Bickell (29) during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Detroit. Tatar scored three goals in the Red Wings 4-1 win. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


DETROIT >> If this is how the regular season is going to go for Tomas Tatar it’s going to be a very successful offensive one.

Tatar scored three goals, the last coming in an empty net, to lead the Detroit Red Wings over the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.

“Every season after the one before you try and change yourself to be better,” Tatar said. “At the end I want to one of those guys like Hank or Pav. I want to be a leader. I would like to pick up as much experience from those guys. They’re great hockey players. They’re great examples for us young hockey guys.

“We have lots and lots to learn,” Tatar added. “Every day for me when I’m watching those guys they are like learning days. Those guys are unreal. There is lots to take from those guys. I have lots to learn defensively and offensively. I like to watch those guys.”

It was also his first game with his newest linemate Brad Richards.

“Richie is a great player,” Tatar said. “He made some nice plays out there. I’m just hoping we can save a few of those for the regular season.”

Richards assisted on all three of Tatar’s goals.

Tatar and Richards worked a nice give-and-go in the Blackhawks’ zone for the first goal of the game.

“Brad is a really smart player,” Tatar said. “I saw him open there and as soon as I slid him with the puck two guys jumped on him and he passed it to me back and I shot it and it and it went into the net.”

Tatar and Richards each finished a plus-3.

“He knows how to score,” Richards said. “I like that. He finds ways to score. One of them was a great shot from the slot and the other one he’s going to the net and he’s in a hard area, even though he’s not the biggest guy.

“To score in this league – he got 29 last year – you can’t just shoot pucks from the perimeter and score anymore,” Richards added. “He obviously knows how to get to the net and when he’s there, he knows what to do with it. He’s giving and going. He’s a heady player. So far it’s been fun to play with him.”

This is exactly the kind of chemistry first-year coach Jeff Blashill was hoping to see out of that line.

“Tats is a real, real talented player who competes extremely hard, has a lot of confidence and wants to win badly,” Blashill said. “He’s got a lot of attributes that make you a real good player and I think he’s continued to progress and we’ll work together to make sure his game continues to progress.

“We want him to be an elite player in the league,” Blashill continued. “He scored 29 goals last year and there’s very few that had more than him, so he’s developing into that and we’re going to continue to help him.”

The Wings signed Richards on the first day of free agency after he had just won the Stanley Cup with Chicago.

“He’s a really smart player,” Tatar said. “I knew I’m going to have fun with him. I hope we stay healthy and play together.”

Tomas Jurco, who’s replacing Darren Helm on the line after he was injured on the first day of training camp, also finished a plus-3.

“It’s a tough game,” Tatar said. “It’s the preseason. We’re still working on the system. We have lots of stuff to work on. I didn’t feel the best on the ice. I found spots that I need to work on and be better in the system.

“We’ll take the win for sure,” Tatar added. “We battled. We’re still in learning mode. This was our first real game for us and this group. It was a good start. We have to get into it. We’re happy we won the game.”

Tatar is in the second year of a three-year deal that has an average salary-cap hit of $2.75 million.

“They seem to be playing good, they’re two real skilled players and I think they like to play a skilled game, they like to make plays, which I’m good with as long as we’re limiting the turnovers,” Blashill said of Richards and Tatar. “We had too many turnovers tonight probably in general. But I think they’re two guys that want to play that skilled type game so there’s definitely chemistry developing there.”

Advertisements

Tatar: Wings need to battle hard against Florida, not like how little they battled in last meeting

DETROIT >> The Wings all know too well what kind of problems this Florida Panthers team pose.

All they have to do is look back at the last meeting this season.

The Panthers beat the Wings, 4-3, to snap Detroit’s four-game winning streak.

“They just play hard,” Johan Franzen said. “They protect the net pretty good. It was tough to get in there. We had a pretty bad start I think against them. Hopefully we can learn something from that.”

The loss to Florida was just Detroit’s first loss in regulation in the last nine games.

“I feel if we play like (Wednesday) we will beat them,” Tomas Tatar said. “They battle hard. Like the games we play against them we don’t want to battle hard. This is the NHL, things are so tight right now. You’re not good enough with just skill, you have to battle hard to help your skill. We need to want to win more than they do and we can get two points.”

The Panthers sit 11 points behind the Wings in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

Babcock: “Tats considers himself a goal scorer.” Forward has eight goals in his last 12 games

DETROIT >> Nine games into the season and Tomas Tatar had just one goal.

Since then, Tatar has eight goals in this last 12.

“I told you guys, I wasn’t worried about it at all,” Tatar said. “You won’t lose it if you can’t find the net once. I’m not afraid I’m not going to score goals. It’s all about confidence, keep shooting the puck. It eventually will find the net.”

He’s got goals in three straight games and is tied with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead with nine on the season.

“Earlier in the season I still had chances I just couldn’t for some reason find the net,” Tatar said. “Right now it gives you a boost of confidence after scoring a few goals. You feel good about yourself, but more importantly the team is winning and everybody is feeling really well right now and everybody is playing really good and we’re feeling good.”

Tatar began his first full season in the league a year ago a healthy scratch in eight of the first nine games. He finished the year a goal shy of 20.

“Tats considers himself a scorer,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “When you think you’re scorer and you don’t score you probably press a little bit. Tats has just got to become a 200-footer. He’s got to learn to play and play without the puck all the time and he’s got to be competitive every night. If he does those things he’s going to score more. So that’s his biggest challenge, just to become a player.

“He wants to be a top-six forward,” Babcock continued. “If you want to be a top-six forward you got to play every night.”

Tatar admits he likes to slow the game down by holding onto the puck more and he gets to learn from one of the best in the business at every practice, Pavel Datsyuk.

“There aren’t many players who can slow down the game, but I think one of the best is Pavel,’ Tatar said. “He can make his space and look around. I think every player wishes he could be as good as him at that. That’s a big benefit to have.

“I’m not a big fan of the fast game either,” Tatar continued. “I like to take my time and think about what I’m going to do, whether I want to shoot or pass. Pavel’s a great example for me.”

Tatar has also been shooting the puck more this season, averaging 2.65 shots on goal. He averaged 2.16 on net a season ago.

“I’m trying to create more chances and opportunities to score and so far it’s working,” Tatar said. “Hopefully I’ll keep shooting and finding the net.”

Tatar proved he was a goal scorer during Grand Rapids run to the Calder Cup in 2013, totaling 16 goals and five assists. He was named the playoff MVP.

“Tats is a competitive kid,” Babcock said. “I might be harder on Tats than anybody on the team just because I think Tats has a chance to be a real player. We’re going to hold him to that. We think he should be good every night because he’s capable of being good every night and every shift. We expect a lot from Tats and he’s capable of doing that.”

In four seasons with the Griffins he tallied 87 goals.

“He’s one of those guys who loves to score,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s a little hard on himself when he doesn’t score but he’s always a great player. He’s strong on the puck and creates a lot of offense but it’s great to see him score. It really makes him better. His confidence grows a lot, it’s good to see.”

With Datsyuk possibly returning, Nyquist added to second line with Sheahan and Tatar

DETROIT >> With Pavel Datsyuk working on a regular line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader that meat Wings coach Mike Babcock had to shake up two other lines.

Gustav Nyquist bumped down to play alongside Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, while Tomas Jurco was on a line with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

“Just trying to get that line to generate more,” Babcock said of Sheahan’s line. “(Nyquist has) been playing real well, if I’m going to play Pav and Z together they need a bigger body to be at the net for them. I want (Nyquist) to have as many touches as he can so Sheahan’s a big body to be at the net for him and Tatar. Then, I’ll go the way with Helmer, Nesty and Jurco. We need Jurc’s to get going too. It’s an opportunity for those guys.”

The fourth line there was no change to.

“I think having a real good player around is positive,” Babcock said about the possibility of getting Datsyuk in the lineup for the first time this season. “We don’t want to defer to Pav, we’ve been doing fine without him. We just want everyone to play and do their part. It’s going to take Pav a while to get going too.”

Wings GM Ken Holland on Tomas Tatar: “His best years are still ahead of him.”

DETROIT >> Tomas Tatar became an every-dayer last season.

And on Monday the Detroit Red Wings forward got paid like one.

Tatar, who was a restricted free agent, signed a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $2.75 million.

In his first full season in the NHL, Tatar, 23, scored 19 goals, had 20 assists and was a plus-12 in 73 games.

“His best years are still ahead of him,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview. “He plays hard and goes to the hard areas. He’s a very important player on our team.”

Tatar, along with a number of other young forwards, was thrust into the spotlight last season due to the overabundance of injuries the Wings suffered.

“He’s probably one of our top line forwards,” Holland said. “We’d like to roll three lines out there that can score. That’s the way we’ve built our team for a lot of years.

“We need to continue to get offense from a lot of our kids with Tats being one of them,” Holland added.

Tatar, whose salary cap his was $630,000 last season, will still be a restricted free agent when the deal expires in 2017. Players don’t reach unrestricted free agency until the age of 27. Tatar will be 26.

When the season began, Tatar could not find his way into the lineup, playing in just one of the Wings’ first nine games of the season.

“I like him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said at the time. “I think he’s a good player. He’s a very usable player, has a knack for the net. But early going in the season, tie goes to the veteran not to the kid. That’s just life. It’s amazing how that works. We’ll get it worked out.”

Tatar was coming off being named the American Hockey League MVP after leading the Grand Rapids Griffins to win the 2013 Calder Cup, scoring 16 goals to go with five assists in 24 games.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” Babcock said when asked about how the youngsters helped the club qualify for the postseason for a 23rd consecutive season. “They came here and took jobs, they’re not going anywhere. They’re real good players that keep getting better and will be part of us for a long time.”

Tatar, who was the Wings’ 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has played 100 games with Detroit, totaling 24 goals and 23 assists.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser is the lone restricted free agent left to sign and Holland doesn’t see getting a deal done to be a problem prior to training camp.

The Wings now have 14 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies signed to one-way contracts, which brings their payroll close to $64 million, leaving them just over $5 million in cap space. This year’s salary cap is $69 million.

That money will be used to sign DeKeyser and possibly Daniel Alfredsson, who won’t know if he’s returning to the team until a couple weeks before training camp that begins Sept. 18 in Traverse City.

DeKeyser doesn’t file for salary arbitration

DETROIT >> The Wings’ only eligible player for salary arbitration, defenseman Danny DeKeyser, as expected chose not to file by the deadline.

DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar are Detroit’s two remaining restricted free agents.

The team will get deals done with both players by the time training camp opens in September.

The Wings signed Riley Sheahan on July 1 to a two-year deal with an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Here’s the list of 20 players that elected salary arbitration:

Arizona Coyotes

Brandon McMillan

Boston Bruins

Matt Bartkowski

Calgary Flames

Joe Colborne

Dallas Stars

Cameron Gaunce

Antoine Roussel

Florida Panthers

Jimmy Hayes

Los Angeles Kings

Dwight King

Minnesota Wild

Justin Fontaine

Montreal Canadiens

Lars Eller

P.K. Subban

Nashville Predators

Mattias Ekholm

New York Islanders

Kevin Poulin

New York Rangers

Derick Brassard

Chris Kreider

Mats Zuccarello

Ottawa Senators

Derek Grant

Pittsburgh Penguins

Nick Spaling

San Jose Sharks

Jason Demers

Toronto Maple Leafs

Cody Franson

James Reimer

The deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration notification is July 6 at 5 p.m. Hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20 to August 4.

Wings GM Ken Holland: “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings had high hopes of landing at least one and quite possibly two premier right-handed defensemen on the first day of free agency.

They wound up with neither.

Instead, they ended up having to turn to a familiar face, Kyle Quincey, who Tuesday returned to Detroit for two years at $4.25 million a season.

Quincey, who’s a left-handed shot, struggled in the first half of last season, but finished strong.

He was one of two players to play all 82 games a year ago, totaling four goals and nine assists.

Dan Boyle, their top priority, and Matt Niskanen both chose to sign with other teams within the Eastern Conference.

“We had hoped to sign a right-shooting D-man,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We made offers, but for a variety of reasons they chose elsewhere to go. That’s the reality of the cap world. There are a lot of reasons why players go in different directions.”

Boyle, who’ll turn 38 next month, signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million instead of a better deal Detroit had on the table, three years at $12.5 million.

Niskanen informed the Wings a couple hours into free agency that they were not on the list of teams he was considering and he finally chose the Washington Capitals, getting a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.

Detroit was in the ballpark with its offer, seven years at $38.5 million, for the 27-year old defenseman.

While their two main right-handed targets on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert inked a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas chose to take the three-year deal at $3 million offered by Toronto instead of a similar offer the Wings had structured for him, choosing the Maple Leafs for family reasons.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The length of a deal turned off the Wings.

“It’s free agency, it’s wide open,” Holland said. “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”

Christian Ehrhoff was the head scratcher of the afternoon, signing a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Detroit was told by Ehrhoff’s agent that he was seeking a five-year deal at roughly $5 million a season.

The Wings were never given a second chance by Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, to better the Penguins’ offer.

The Wings could now turn to trading for a right-handed defensemen – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry or Toronto’s Cody Franson – but the asking price is quite steep – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco.

Arizona’s Keith Yandle, who’s a left-handed shot, is also rumored to be on the trading block.

“There are still a lot of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” Holland said. “We’ll keep kicking tires. I was hoping to get one or two right-shot defensemen, but they signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. That’s going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.”

Detroit did sign two of its own: Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek.

Sheahan, who was a restricted free agent, inked a two-year deal at an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Mrazek got a one-year extension, taking his deal through the 2015-16 season, at a cap hit of $737,500.

With close to $60 million tied up in 20 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, the Wings have close to $6 million to spend on other free agents.

Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Detroit added depth at center signing Kevin Porter to a two-way deal.

Porter split time last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester of the American Hockey League.

Porter, who played four seasons at the University of Michigan, has also played parts of seasons with Colorado and Phoenix and had 29 goals and 26 assists in 206 games.

He won the Hobey Baker Award in 2008, awarded to the top collegiate player in the NCAA.